Most mid-range smartphones feature mid-range chips designed for that purpose. But Japanese electronics company Sharp is taking a different approach with its newest phone.
The Sharp Aquos V is a $230 smartphone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. That’s a flagship-class processor… that’s about two years old.
As long as companies like Sharp don’t have problems sourcing older parts, the move makes sense — the Snapdragon 835 is a pretty decent processor that outclasses recent Snapdragon 600-series mid-range chips in many respects.
But it’s still an unusual move.
The Sharp Aquos V features a 5.9 inch, 2160 x 108 pixel display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It has a 3,090 mAh battery, dual 13MP rear cameras with optical image stabilization on the primary camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, a rear fingerprint sensor, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0.
The processor, memory, and storage are actually pretty much the same as those for the Google Pixel 2 which I’ve been using for the past few years. But Sharp’s phone has a few things my Pixel 2 does not, including a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
via GSM Arena and GizmoChina
Seems like a good deal to me. How’s Sharp with Android updates? I guess related, how’s Qualcomm with providing binary blob updates for newer Linux kernels for the aging 835 so that it’s actually feasible to update Android?
Basically an S8.
A new S8 for $230? Sounds like a better deal than the S8 right now.
The 835 has been very popular well beyond its years. Moto used it a year later to power their weirdly outfitted Z3 “flagship”. A number of small companies have used it to power niche devices like the fxtec Pro slider. It seems to be in ready supply for all takers.
I always used to buy year old flagships if they went on clearance pricing under the theory that a year old flagship would age more gracefully than a new mid range. That’s probably not as true any more. And the clearance sales aren’t as good as they used to be either. But still, I’d love to see a Moto G8 Pro with sd835 and amoled.
Honestly, in terms of power, I’d still rather have a year old flagship than a new midrange, I don’t think you’re wrong about that. But the big issue there is Android updates. If these companies weren’t so bad about ending support so quickly, a year old phone would be a great deal. But most of the time that means you get, at best, a year of updates, and often not even that, so unless you get a phone with an unlocked bootloader and decent ROM support, you probably want something as new as possible.
It’s not a big issue for most users, though. The final version of Android a phone ends up with will continue to get toolkit updates for around another seven years, and many of the security issues can be patched or mitigated by that route, and the apps you use will continue to get updates too.
Sure, new features released in the new versions of Android are always nice, but most of the time they’re nice to haves, not must haves. The Pixel XL I bought refurbished last year will get its last update next month, but it’ll still be using the latest and greatest version of Android until Android 11 comes out next fall, and even after that, the phone will function just as it has done since I bought it.
So really, it comes down to hardware. Do you want to go through the hassle of replacing the battery? Does the screen still work? Did you drop it one too many times? Did your favorite phone manufacturer finally put out a phone you decide you can’t live without?
In my experience, flagships get more updates longer than midrange. There are a few exceptions now, but two of the flagships I bought using this theory were Nexus 4 and Nexus 6. In those eras, midrange updates were extra awful and nexus was cream of the crop even among flagships.
Beyond its years? The first phone with an 835 in it was the Galaxy S8, released barely 18 months ago!
Otherwise, you’re right — I go for flagships around 18 months to two years old, when they’re readily available refurbished (as new) for between $200-$250. Aside from looks, they’re easily still more capable than any new models on the market under $300.
Google tells me the S8 was released April 21, 2017, nearly 30 months ago.
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